Addition of levothyroxine sodium therapy in patients with diabetes mellitus may worsen glycemic control and result in increased antidiabetic agent or insulin requirements. Carefully monitor glycemic control, especially when thyroid therapy is started, changed, or discontinued [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)].
Levothyroxine sodium increases the response to oral anticoagulant therapy. Therefore, a decrease in the dose of anticoagulant may be warranted with correction of the hypothyroid state or when the levothyroxine sodium dose is increased. Closely monitor coagulation tests to permit appropriate and timely dosage adjustments.
Levothyroxine sodium may reduce the therapeutic effects of digitalis glycosides. Serum digitalis glycoside levels may decrease when a hypothyroid patient becomes euthyroid, necessitating an increase in the dose of digitalis glycosides.
Concurrent use of tricyclic (e.g., amitriptyline) or tetracyclic (e.g., maprotiline) antidepressants and levothyroxine sodium may increase the therapeutic and toxic effects of both drugs, possibly due to increased receptor sensitivity to catecholamines. Toxic effects may include increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias and central nervous system stimulation. Levothyroxine sodium may accelerate the onset of action of tricyclics. Administration of sertraline in patients stabilized on levothyroxine sodium may result in increased levothyroxine sodium requirements.
Concurrent use of ketamine and levothyroxine sodium may produce marked hypertension and tachycardia. Closely monitor blood pressure and heart rate in these patients.
Concurrent use of sympathomimetics and levothyroxine sodium may increase the effects of sympathomimetics or thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones may increase the risk of coronary insufficiency when sympathomimetic agents are administered to patients with coronary artery disease.
Concurrent use of tyrosine-kinase inhibitors such as imatinib may cause hypothyroidism. Closely monitor TSH levels in such patients.
Consumption of certain foods may affect levothyroxine sodium absorption thereby necessitating adjustments in dosing [see Dosage and Administration (2.1)]. Soybean flour, cottonseed meal, walnuts, and dietary fiber may bind and decrease the absorption of levothyroxine sodium from the gastrointestinal tract. Grapefruit juice may delay the absorption of levothyroxine and reduce its bioavailability.
Consider changes in TBG concentration when interpreting T4 and T3 values. Measure and evaluate unbound (free) hormone and/or determine the free-T4 index (FT4I) in this circumstance. Pregnancy, infectious hepatitis, estrogens, estrogen-containing oral contraceptives, and acute intermittent porphyria increase TBG concentration. Nephrosis, severe hypoproteinemia, severe liver disease, acromegaly, androgens, and corticosteroids decrease TBG concentration. Familial hyper- or hypo-thyroxine binding globulinemias have been described, with the incidence of TBG deficiency approximating 1 in 9000.
The clinical experience, including data from postmarketing studies, in pregnant women treated with oral levothyroxine to maintain euthyroid state have not reported increased rates of major birth defects, miscarriages, or other adverse maternal or fetal outcomes. There are risks to the mother and fetus associated with untreated hypothyroidism in pregnancy. Since TSH levels may increase during pregnancy, TSH should be monitored and levothyroxine sodium dosage adjusted during pregnancy (see Clinical Considerations). Animal reproductive studies have not been conducted with levothyroxine sodium. Levothyroxine sodium should not be discontinued during pregnancy and hypothyroidism diagnosed during pregnancy should be promptly treated.
The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2% to 4% and 15% to 20%, respectively.
Disease-Associated Maternal and/or Embryo/Fetal Risk
Maternal hypothyroidism during pregnancy is associated with a higher rate of complications, including spontaneous abortion, gestational hypertension, pre-eclampsia, stillbirth, and premature delivery. Untreated maternal hypothyroidism may have an adverse effect on fetal neurocognitive development.
Dose Adjustments During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period
Pregnancy may increase levothyroxine sodium requirements. Serum TSH levels should be monitored and the levothyroxine sodium dosage adjusted during pregnancy. Since postpartum TSH levels are similar to preconception values, the levothyroxine sodium dosage should return to the pre-pregnancy dose immediately after delivery [see Dosage and Administration (2.3)].
Published studies report that levothyroxine is present in human milk following the administration of oral levothyroxine. No adverse effects on the breastfed infant have been reported and there is no information on the effects of levothyroxine on milk production. Adequate levothyroxine treatment during lactation may normalize milk production in hypothyroid lactating mothers with low milk supply. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for levothyroxine sodium and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from levothyroxine sodium or from the underlying maternal condition.
Levothyroxine sodium tablets are indicated in patients from birth to less than 17 years of age:
- As a replacement therapy in primary (thyroidal), secondary (pituitary), and tertiary (hypothalamic) congenital or acquired hypothyroidism.
- As an adjunct to surgery and radioiodine therapy in the management of thyrotropin-dependent well-differentiated thyroid cancer.
Rapid restoration of normal serum T4 concentrations is essential for preventing the adverse effects of congenital hypothyroidism on cognitive development as well as on overall physical growth and maturation. Therefore, initiate levothyroxine sodium therapy immediately upon diagnosis. Levothyroxine is generally continued for life in these patients [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
Closely monitor infants during the first 2 weeks of levothyroxine sodium therapy for cardiac overload and arrhythmias.
Because of the increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease among the elderly, initiate levothyroxine sodium at less than the full replacement dose [see Dosage and Administration (2.3) and Warnings and Precautions (5.2)]. Atrial arrhythmias can occur in elderly patients. Atrial fibrillation is the most common of the arrhythmias observed with levothyroxine overtreatment in the elderly.
The signs and symptoms of overdosage are those of hyperthyroidism [see Warnings and Precautions (5) and Adverse Reactions (6)]. In addition, confusion and disorientation may occur. Cerebral embolism, shock, coma, and death have been reported. Seizures occurred in a 3-year-old child ingesting 3.6 mg of levothyroxine. Symptoms may not necessarily be evident or may not appear until several days after ingestion of levothyroxine sodium.
Reduce the levothyroxine sodium dosage or discontinue temporarily if signs or symptoms of overdosage occur. Initiate appropriate supportive treatment as dictated by the patient’s medical status.
For current information on the management of poisoning or overdosage, contact the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or www.poison.org.
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